Prior Approval secured for Class Q Agricultural Barn Conversion

Mcloughlin Planning has secured Prior Approval for the conversion of a barn to a new residential home under Class Q.

Class Q permitted development right allows for the conversion of disused agricultural barns to dwellings without needing full planning permission. If the barn qualifies, then a prior approval application needs to be submitted instead. The Council is only permitted to assess a set list of conditions. These include: highways, noise, contamination risks, flood risk, natural light, ecology, internal space standards, location/siting, and the external appearance of the building.

On location and siting, the Council cannot refuse a proposal for being “unsustainable”. They can only assess whether the location is harmful or not realistic (like at the top of a steep hill). On external appearance, the applicant needs to demonstrate the barn is structurally sound and will not result in the enlargement of the structure. It is important that the barn is a genuine conversion rather than a rebuild.

Working with the project team (RRA Architects & Michael Alexander Consulting Engineers), we demonstrated that the barn was structurally sound, required limited alterations (i.e. new doors and windows), and complied with the legislative requirements. By providing the information in a structured Planning Statement, the Council was able to quickly confirm that the proposal passed.

During the application process, the Council raised concerns regarding the potential for contamination from previous poultry use. By working proactively with the officer, a suitably worded planning condition was agreed upon to resolve this issue.

We are pleased the Council was able to grant prior approval for the barn conversion. The application offers a useful case study on the benefits and pitfalls of prior approval. However, we find prior approval can offer a beneficial fallback position to help with the diversification of agricultural barns and estates for either residential (Class Q) or commercial (Class R) uses.

Our recent successes in securing barn conversions mean we are well-placed to help you with your aspirations. If you would like an initial free consultation call, please contact Chris Moore at 01242 895008 or Alternatively, you can book a meeting via the “book an appointment” contact form on our website.